?? Online Bingo for USA Players
In much of the western world, bingo is considered a recreational activity rather than being included in the same bracket as sports betting and casinos. Bingo is usually played for small stakes, so in those other countries it is seen as less harmful than full-on gambling much in the same way that scratch off lottery tickets are viewed in the US.
Because of this difference in perception, bingo halls are not as common in America as they are in places such as the United Kingdom and Asia.
That doesn’t mean that Bingo is unpopular in the US, however – a loophole in the law means that churches and charity organisations are regularly able to offer bingo nights. Church and charity bingo are extremely popular in the USA, and with takings from these events alongside regular halls the overall American bingo market was worth $10 billion last year alone.
The numbers are enormous – it is estimated that 60 million Americans play bingo at least once each year. It’s no surprise then that online gaming companies are keen to find ways to offer online bingo within the US! Unfortunately for them, the legal situation regarding all forms of online gambling is fraught with complexity making things unnecessarily complicated for players.
Each state has its own code of laws, so there is no one size fits all answer to the question of online bingo’s legality in the United States.
Whilst there is no federal law that prohibits online gambling, transferring funds to online gambling sites located within US borders IS prohibited by the Unlicensed Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006.
A handful of states have introduced their own laws overriding this, but for much of America, the resulting situation is that it’s perfectly legal to play bingo online – as long as you are playing at an offshore website.
There’s a couple of states that have specific legislation banning online gambling for their residents. These states include Washington, Montana, Oregon, Louisiana, Illinois and Wisconsin, although zero prosecutions have ever been sought against citizens under these laws. Despite this, if you do happen to live in one of those states please do tread carefully.
Now that you understand the legality of US online bingo, let’s get on to the fun stuff – finding the best place to play!
? Top US Bingo Sites This Month
Finding the best US online bingo sites means considering several different areas. The games on offer are of course important, and not just the different types of bingo – many bingo players also enjoy playing a variety of other casino games whilst they wait for the next round of bingo to start.
Security and safety are other important considerations – we want to be sure that you always receive a fair game.
Finally, we look for sites offering the easiest and fastest payment options that enable players to both deposit and withdraw as quickly as possible. Check out our top picks after considering all of these areas in the list below.
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❓ Types Of Bingo Offered Online
Bingo players from the United States might only be familiar with 75-ball bingo, as this is the variant that is by far the most popular throughout North America.
If you’re new to playing online then you might be surprised to find a host of different variations of the game on offer, as there are several other variants that are popular in other parts of the world.
A hybrid variant using 80 balls can be found frequently online which lacks the free square found in 75-ball bingo but adds prizes for scoring a diagonal line or all four corners of the card.
The exact rules for this game can vary from one site to another, so be sure to check the rules before you begin to play for real money. Another common type of online bingo is a super-fast variant played using tiny 3×3 cards.
Known as 30-ball bingo, this game has found something of a following in the online market thanks to its speed and simplicity. In this game, there is just one prize, given to the first person to complete all of the numbers on their card.
90 Ball Bingo
The most popular alternative to the well-known 75-ball game is the 90-ball variant that is common throughout much of Europe and Asia. It is the most popular form of bingo in the United Kingdom, and you may well recognize the look of the tickets even if you have never played the game before.
Each ticket features a 9×3 grid with fifteen numbers printed in random spaces dotted around the ticket. Just like 75-ball bingo, there is a method to the placement of the numbers.
The first column features only the numbers 1-9, the second column features numbers 10-19, the third 20-29 and so forth. Twelve spaces are left blank.
Three prizes are awarded during the course of each game. The first prize goes to the person who crosses off all of the numbers on a single horizontal line of their ticket, with the second going to the player who covers all of the numbers on two of the three horizontal lines.
Finally, the largest prize is awarded for a “Full House”, that is, the person who hits all fifteen of the numbers on their ticket the soonest.
75 Ball Bingo
This is the game that American bingo players will most likely be familiar with. It has a number of similarities to the 90-ball game, but a few unique aspects as well.
Some would argue these differences are what makes the game interesting, whereas others will bemoan the additional complexity. Why not give both a try and see which you prefer?
A standard 75-ball bingo ticket is arranged in a 5×5 grid. The entire grid is filled with numbers with the exception of the center square which is awarded as a “free” space, and is usually printed with a star.
Each column of the ticket can only contain a certain range of numbers – specifically 1-15 for the first column, 16-30 for the second column, 31-45 for the third and so forth.
When playing the physical game these tickets are usually sold in strips of three, but this isn’t really necessary when playing online. Each player is allowed to purchase a maximum of 18 tickets for each individual game.
The price of a ticket varies from one game to another, and whilst most games will have a minimum guaranteed jackpot the overall size of the prize fund is determined by how many tickets are purchased.
The most common way to win playing 75-ball bingo is by matching a pre-determined pattern to the shape of the numbers you have crossed off on your ticket. There is a virtually unlimited number of different patterns that can be used, so you need to stay aware of what shape you are aiming for in each individual game.
Sometimes there will be a smaller prize for being the first one to complete a full horizontal or vertical line, although this isn’t always the case.
Even more rarely, some games will continue after a player has managed to complete the winning pattern until somebody manages to fill in their entire card, creating a “full house”.
Although these variations are somewhat more common when playing online bingo, the most common way to win a prize when playing 75-ball bingo is definitely by completely the pattern.
❓ Is Online Bingo Different Than The Regular?
Online bingo websites do their best to recreate the atmosphere and action of in-person bingo. This is because, for many players, the social aspect of playing bingo is just as important as the opportunity to win money.
When playing online the computer will cross off each number that is called on all of your cards automatically (unless you instruct it not to) which makes it much easier to keep up with multiple cards. Even if you turn this function off, the game will still alert you if you have won a prize, so you won’t miss out on any winnings if you fall behind with the game.
Live chat facilities are usually provided to enable the players of each game to chat with each other during play. Real-time video is sometimes used to show a real person calling out the numbers, similar to how a live casino game works, though this is normally only used for larger stakes games.
When visiting a bingo hall, you will often find slot or fruit machines available for extra entertainment. Similar games are usually provided online as well, and you also have the added advantage that the computer is looking after your bingo tickets for you.
This leaves you free to engage in these side games at the same time that the bingo games are running. There are usually more options for side games online too, such as blackjack, baccarat and roulette.
Of course, none of these things can fully replace the experience of hanging out and playing bingo with friends at a church or bingo hall. As a result, online bingo sites usually offer higher stakes than you might find in local games, in an effort to further increase their attractiveness.
❓ Is Playing Bingo Online Safe?
Yes, as long as you choose a licensed and regulated website on which to play. This is easy for those living in states that have already introduced regulated online gambling – notably New Jersey, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. If you are a citizen (or even just visiting) one of those states, you should gamble with the licensed sites that are in operation there.
Players based in the rest of the country will need to put a little effort into doing their research and finding a trustworthy bingo site to play with. If you would prefer that we did the hard work for you, jump back up to the top of this page where you can find our top picks for online bingo sites accepting US players.